1 Short Storyup to 1 short story
Shorstory & Novel | Issue 4
"I see "New US Fiction" as immediately and unfortunately synonymous with new US short fiction." Yet I consider the short story to be a corpse, an unnatural immortalized version, as Lukács once described the knightly romantic, "with pure formality, after the descendants of the historical-philosophical dialectics have already denounced the ascendental preconditions for its being.
" Now that the prerequisites for its survival are over, the short story in America is still promoted by a pure formality: by the big magazins, which, if they are printing anything fictional, classify one short story per edition between feature and review; and by workshop-based imaginative scripts and their accompanying literature periodicals.
Today's short story-telling all seem to carry an unseen tick, the horrible imprint of the fictional plant; the movements themselves are enlivened by a kind of plant consciousness: On behalf of the scientific community, I recently reviewed the front page to discuss the 2004 and 2005 Best American Short Story manuscripts.
Much of these tales seemed to have been reduced to an almost illegible nucleus of lively verb and lively noun. The authors seem to try to find as many specific entity objects as possible, with as few words as possible. Julia, Julia, Juliet, Viola, Violet, Rusty, Lefty, Carl, Carla, Carleton, Mamie, Sharee, Sharon, Rose of Sharon (an Indian).
As a tribute to the time, the 2004 and 2005 editions contain exactly one story from the Middle East, each with a figure named Hassan. By way of illustration, I have read a few of Chekhov's tales, who still seems to be the example for US "short film practitioners". "Google is searching for "The american Chekhov", and you will get results for Carver, Cheever, Tobias Wolff, Peter Taylor, Andre Dubus and Lorrie Moore, as well as several theatists.
Compared to the best Americans, I found Chekhov is quite thrifty by name. Admittedly, Chekhov wrote from another point in the historical-philosophical dialectic: a figure could be named "Gurov's wife", "the bureaucrat" or "the lackey", and nobody would understand it as a kind of politically expressed state. No other place is the best flood of US titles as inexorable as in the first few phrases, which are either arbitrary; one is expected to find that they are all acroses or do not contain a singular alphabet e. They all start in media ses.
Today's authors urge their readership as if it were a tedious slimming down or a kind of charitable work; the general opinion goes along and jokes about how they should really do more. Using similar idioms to promote literacy and physical activity, Martha Nussbaum propagates writing as a practice regimen for empathy.
The use of specifity as an abbreviation of the nostalgic is another common technology to confuse the readers - as if an author only had to refer to Little League or someone named Bucky McGee, and our common US past will do the work. Every best anthology in America, for example, has a Little League story.
With the formalists, I believe that there is no such thing as a naturally inappropriate topic in writing - but if that were the case, then this topic would certainly be Little League. Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Munro, John Updike writer, the best of the best Americans are still the old champions, who serve the purposes of the short story form: to tell a short story.
A short story can only contain one particular content: absenteeism. Lost people, lost chances, very short meetings that take place at the edge of "Life Itself": If the contents are minimalistic, then it makes perfect sense just to adhere to the short game dictate: condensing, deleting, omitting. Narratives, like short histories, are often about absenteeism, but they are inexhaustible.
One short story says: "I searched for x and didn't find it anymore", or "I didn't search anymore, and then I found x." A novel says: "I searched for x and found a, w, a, w, a, w, a, d, a, s, a, c." The novel is made up of all the unrelevant rubbish, the efforts to release this rubbish, to reintegrate it into life itself, to draw the limits of life itself.
This novel is a basically ironical shape, hence its force of self-regeneration. This short story is a basically unironical one, and for this I think it is condemned to failure. He wanted to create a knightly romantic, but the gulf between this type and his experiences was too wide. A lot of the best US tales are played in jails and mental health clinics.
Today's literature is such that practically all authors, at least at first, have to compose short stories. Some of the best US tales, including Stone Animals, are really twenty-page fiction. This short story tries to develop into a catacall game. Well, fiction's gotten so short lately, except for those that've gotten very long.
The majority of the long books fall under the term "hysterical realism" by James Wood, who, although allegedly opposite to Puritan Minimalism, share his fundamental assumption: to write as a kind of complacency and conceit. This is the core of the issue, the biggest hindrance to American literary today: the blame. Authors who feel culpable for not doing a proper job, this enigmatic job - where is it?
"In aristocracy, decadence, selfishness, self-absorbed, craftsmanship is useful, submissive, ascetical, anorectic... a kind of carving. It' as if authors become authors by leaving out unnecessary words. US authors are embarrassed to find their own life interesting; all rooms in the building are cursed, the available themes are inaccessible.
Lorrie Moore has been writing about cancers for years. A Heartbreaking Work of staging genius imply ing that anyone who finds his story unconvincing is unattractive to cancers; he explains in bloody details how he is planning to disembowel such individuals, how he is planning to be disembowelled by them again.
Authors who don't like the term Holocaust exist, and of course things can be recombined: cancers and the Holocaust, Canada and the US Nostalgic, the Holocaust and the US Nostalgic. There are all elements: the names, the terms, the five w's, the bodily captivity, the egotism. During the whole novel Chabon actually generates a lot of old-fashionedness - but then he goes off and throws the whole load of developing the characters onto the Holocaust.
It is not that the great paths cannot be described or cannot be described well; Oates' "The Cousins" (Best America 2005), for example, is about both the Holocaust and cancers and is still a good story. It' is made up of a letter between two female co-users, ageing women: one of whom lived through the Holocaust and became a renowned author, the other was raised in America and retired in Florida.
I admit among the writers who wrote about the Second War that my favourite is Haruki Murakami. He is not the greatest writer in the whole wide universe; one could say that his books are all "messed up" on some fundamental plane. Murakami's fiction also gets a QuoXotic dynamic through botchiness. "There is nothing in the novel that shows that he has learnt something from these experience, that his own lives have altered, that he has now thought profoundly about the purpose of living or has begun to question society," Murakami's storyteller explains: "It is totally obscure why the writer chose to choose to write The Miner - which makes him particularly precious because of his open-mindedness to the tales.
Literary needs fiction like The Miner, where you go to the mine and nothing happens; fiction unlike Germinal, where you go to the mine and come out as a nationalist. Maybe contemporary US literary has preserved the hardest parts of Zola. My dear US authors, escape from prison! "If you' re writing long fiction, you' re writing meaningless one.
My dear young authors, please feel free to type with your own personalities. This is how you spell, how you're getting reread.